Leading from the front, Umberto Clerici forges a new orchestral direction

Looking forward to an ambitious 2024 season, the Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra recaps on his 2023 program and some of the challenges it has presented.
Umberto Clerici. Man in black formal wear conducts orchestra.

ArtsHub speaks to Umberto Clerici, the new Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) as he is deep in preparation for Mahler’s 6th Symphony, one of the highlights of his 2023 season. His first time conducting the Sixth, though he has previously conducted both the First and Fourth Symphonies, he will subsequently conduct the work to glowing reviews.

He tells ArtsHub: ‘This is one of the hardest symphonies that Mahler wrote. I have only played it once in my life, as a cellist, and it is rarely performed. It’s the most autobiographical of his works and it happens to fit perfectly with the idea of “humanity”. And so, to include it in a year where the philosophical theme of humanity is a major focus of my programming was perfect.’

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Suzannah Conway is ArtsHub's Brisbane-based Arts Feature Writer. Suzannah is an experienced arts administrator, having been CEO of Opera Queensland, the Brisbane Riverfestival and the Centenary of Federation celebrations for Queensland. She has been writing reviews and music articles for over 15 years and regularly reviews classical music, opera and musical theatre in particular for The Australian and Limelight magazine as well as other journals.